Saturday, April 29, 2017

Joni Schaff

TAX IDENTITY THEFT DEFENSE TACTICS OFFERED

Senior Center News
Our Hardin Senior Center is looking really “sweet,” thanks to volunteer decorators Etta, Elaine, AnnaBelle, Cliff and Margaret. The February decorations are lovely and the new quilted wall hanging, made by Etta, depicts birdhouses in all four seasons. 
 
The Arbogasts, otherwise known as the “Photo Display Committee,” have photographs of our beautiful Montana winter. The Photo of the Month is “Sub-Zero Weather on the Big Horn River.” There were captured – in photos – gaggles of geese on the river’s edge, a skunk on the move, finely shaped icicles, a bright full moon in January, and photos of our smiling folks here at the center. Stop in, visit and go through the whole photo gallery, which includes portraits of historical Big Horn County residents and several of recent years. They are all truly enjoyable.
 
Condolences are sent to the family of Corinna Smith. Corinna would come to the center in her birthday month for dinner. Since moving into assisted living at Heritage Acres, she volunteered for many years at the Big Horn County Historical Museum. She gave me a large, framed picture a few years ago of my grandfather Bummie Schubert. The picture shows him riding a horse while on the cattle’s feed ground in the winter along Four Mile Creek near Kirby, Montana. At her funeral, a remembrance was shared that not too many people would have known about her. She was an excellent calf roper, never missing a catch. I could tell this of Corinna, as she always wanted things to be just so. She probably demanded this of herself, to do it right the first time.
 
Another bit of local news told to me this week is that Coil “June” Redding was honored at the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame for Great Montana Rodeo Families on Jan. 28 in Billings. Congratulations to Coil Redding’s family as well: Sam, Cleve and Billie. Coil’s late wife Jackie fully supported her family’s rodeo competitions for many, many years. They’ll always be fondly remembered by me, I know.
 
To the family of Bettie Russell, we offer our sympathy for her passing.
 
From Attorney General Tim Fox is a reminder of “Tax Time Tips to Protect Your Refund.”
 
He writes: “In honor of the Federal Trade Commission’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, I’m encouraging all Montanans to read up on the most common tax identity theft scams and how to avoid them.
 
Tax identity theft can happen in a number of ways. It includes someone filing a phony tax return using your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to collect your refund from the IRS. It also can happen if someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your dependents on a tax return. These identity thieves can get your personal information in a number of ways, such as searching through your trash, stealing your mail, or posing as the IRS and asking for personal information over the phone. The FTC reports tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported for the past five years.
 
The FTC suggests Montanans take the following steps to protect themselves from tax scams:
 
First: File your return early in the tax season if you can. 
 
Second: If you file electronically, don’t use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots at places like the library, coffee shops or a hotel lobby.
 
Third: Mail your tax return directly from the post office.
 
Fourth: Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail.
 
Fifth: Respond to all postal mail from the IRS as soon as possible.
 
Sixth: Shred copies of your tax return, drafts or calculation sheets you no longer need.
 
Seventh: Don’t give out your Social Security number (SSN) or Medicare number unless necessary. Ask why it’s needed, how it’s going to be used and how it will be stored.
 
If your SSN has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
 
Get recommendations and research a tax preparations specialist thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
 
Check your credit report at least once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.
 
If you become a victim of tax identity theft, don’t panic. Typically, victims find out their information has been compromised when they get a letter from the IRS saying that more than one tax return was filed in your name or IRS records show they received wages from an employer they don’t know. If you get a letter like this, contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.
 
If you owe or think you may owe federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. The IRS does not ask people to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and doesn’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone. If the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they do it by postal mail first, not by phone.
 
The AARP Tax Aide appointment times are filled up for March 3 at the Hardin Senior Center. The alternative site is the Adult Resource and Alliance Center in Billings on Avenue C, behind Sears, on the corner. Call the phone number at (406) 794-0083 for appointments.
 
Coming up next week at the senior center is the Seniors Association meeting at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 13; bingo on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14; the birthday dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 15 with a 50-50 raffle and entertainment planned; and Hoodie Hoo Day at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
 
The Hardin Senior Center phone number is (406) 665-2581. We are located in the Little Big Horn Center Complex at 317 N. Custer.
 
Hardin Senior Center menu:
Thursday, Feb. 9 – sauerkraut, ribs, vegetables, dessert
Friday, Feb. 10 – beef and cabbage bake, salad, dessert
Monday, Feb. 13 – chicken burger, Tater Tots, salad, dessert
Tuesday, Feb. 14 – vegetable soup, sandwich, dessert
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – birthday dinner – pork roast, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, salads, cake and ice cream
Thursday, Feb. 16 – ham and egg McMuffin, hashbrowns, fruit
 
Lodge Grass Senior Center menu:
Friday, Feb. 10 – pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, cheese bread, peach cobbler
Monday, Feb. 13 – Polish sausage, sauerkraut, oven potatoes, cornbread, blueberry dessert
Wednesday, Feb. 15 – birthday dinner – chicken fried steak and cherry cheesecake
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